How will reigning champions Sutherland Sharks respond to their shock 2-1 loss at home to Sydney Olympic?
The Sharks face an encounter with the competition’s bottom-placed side for the second week running when they take on Marconi Stallions on Saturday afternoon, while second-placed Blacktown City and third-placed Sydney FC clash in Seven Hills.
Match of the Round
Blacktown City v Sydney FC, Saturday 5.00pm at Lily’s Football Centre
An early contender for match of the season in the NPL NSW Men’s 20’s campaign takes place on Saturday afternoon when Blacktown City host Sydney FC in a top of the table affair at Lily’s Football Centre.
The two competition heavyweights enter the encounter one point and four points behind leaders Sutherland Sharks respectively and with the reigning champions slipping up for the first time in eight matches last round both Blacktown and Sydney have received a timely reminder of their title ambitions.
John Carnevale’s Blacktown lost the opening two matches of the season but have won seven in a row since and have looked the most likely challenger to Sutherland’s supremacy. A consistently improving and streetwise outfit, City come into the match on the back of two clean sheets and a hat trick for top scorer Lachlan Rose against Rockdale City Suns in round nine’s 5-0 hammering.
City are yet to drop a single point at their home ground so far this season but opponents Sydney are solid candidates to scupper that record. The Sky Blues are unbeaten in their last seven matches, are improving in the defensive third with two clean sheets in their last three, and boast the competition’s deadliest strike force in Hamish Lamberton (11 goals) and Jordan Swibel (7.)
Bonnyrigg White Eagles v APIA Leichhardt Tigers, 5.00pm at Bonnyrigg Sports Club
Bonnyrigg White Eagles are looking the bounce back from last weekend’s 1-0 defeat to Hakoah Sydney City East in their home fixture with APIA Leichhardt Tigers at Bonnyrigg Sports Club this Saturday afternoon.
The narrow defeat at Hensley Athletic Field followed an impressive string of performances for Hamish Brown’s side, who salvaged a point from Sydney FC and came close to doing so against leaders Sutherland Sharks before a goalless draw with Wollongong and a 2-0 win over Sydney United 58 in their last four fixtures.
Having battled credibly against these four sides who currently make up the top five, Bonnyrigg should be primed for another big showing at home for the visit of APIA Leichhardt Tigers, whom the White Eagles can join on 12 points with a victory.
And although the visitors APIA defeated Sydney United 2-0 last Saturday the Tigers haven’t won back to back matches all season and haven’t quite managed to muster the required consistency for Franco Consentino’s side to be considered genuine title challengers. However, last season’s Grand Finalists undoubtedly boast one of the most talented rosters in the competition and will have an eye on making a statement when they arrive at Bonnyrigg.
Manly United v Sydney United 58, 5.00pm at Cromer Park
Manly United will be aiming to heap more misery on out of form an out of form Sydney United 58 side when the pair clash on the Northern Beaches on Saturday afternoon.
The Cromer Park outfit haven’t been at their best so far this campaign but secured a sensational 1-0 victory over fourth-placed Wollongong Wolves last round to reignite their stuttering season.
That victory lifted Manly off the bottom of the table and back to back wins on Saturday will see them overtake their Sydney United 58 opponents on the ladder.
After starting the season in dominant fashion United 58 slumped a fifth consecutive defeat in round nine to drop out of the top five for the first time this season and are now fixed in mid-table. Despite the crushing defeat, the Reds offered a very encouraging performance at home and created an abundance of chances – should the visitors replicate a similar standard at Cromer Park they have a great chance of snapping their unwanted losing run.
Marconi Stallions v Sutherland Sharks, 5.00pm at Marconi Stadium
Competition leaders Sutherland Sharks are aiming to bounce back from their first defeat of the campaign in their fixture with Marconi Stallions and Marconi Stadium this Saturday afternoon.
The 2017 champions were felled by bottom-club Sydney Olympic in a shock 2-1 defeat at Seymour Shaw on Saturday, a result that should serve as a timely wake up call for Nick Dimovski’s men – who had not lost a league fixture since round seventeen of the 2017 season.
Sutherland will no doubt want to avenge their complacent performance against Marconi, who slid to twelfth position with their fourth loss in a row last weekend, meaning the Sharks will face the league’s bottom club for the second week running.
The Stallions play a catch up fixture with APIA Leichhardt Tigers on Wednesday evening but could still enter their match against Sutherland as the competition’s lowest scorers and will need to take inspiration from Sydney Olympic’s showing against the Sharks and hope the leaders suffer another off day.
Sydney Olympic v Wollongong Wolves, 12.40pm at Belmore Sports Ground
Sydney Olympic lifted themselves off the bottom of the ladder thanks to a shock 2-1 win over Sutherland Sharks last round and will no doubt be buoyed ahead of their match up with Wollongong Wolves at Belmore on Sunday lunchtime.
Olympic registered the biggest upset win of the campaign to breathe new life into what’s been an underwhelming season for the Blues so far. However, for all Olympic’s struggles, back to back victories would see the Belmore club potentially climb toward mid-table and position themselves on the precipice of the top five, such is the congested nature of the table after nine rounds.
Wollongong were also handed a shock defeat in round nine at the hands on Manly United and the Wolves know they can’t afford another loss with a host of teams breathing down their necks. The South Coast outfit will hope top scorer Tory Musumeci, who has netted six goals in nine matches this season, fires the visitors back in form on Sunday.
Rockdale City Suns v Hakoah Sydney City East, 3.00pm at Ilinden Sports Centre
Rockdale City Suns conclude round ten of the NPL NSW Men’s 20’s competition needing a big performance against Hakoah Sydney City East at Ilinden Sports Centre on Sunday afternoon.
The Suns were crushed 5-0 by Blacktown City last Sunday to quell a three-match unbeaten run from the side, who enter the clash in ninth position and on nine points.
It won’t be an easy task against a fifth-placed Hakoah outfit who have been steadily improving over the course of the campaign. Hakoah have kept three clean sheets in their last four and conceded just one goal in total in that run of matches – another win for Paul Hubbard’s side here would raise eyebrows around the competition.
-By Jacob Windon